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This morning we were messing around with the band saw blades and got into a discussion of how to fold and unfold them properly. I was taught to use my foot to fold it.

Robert Lang uses just his hands.

To release a band saw blade, I was taught to cast it to the ground, roughly, on one of our floor mats. It makes a great noise and people will jump a bit.

Robert Lang uses just his hands.

Megan shot this short video of the two techniques. The little dance at the end is free.

– Christopher Schwarz

Cuss It, I Need to Write More About Band Saws

– The best band saw book I know of is from Mark Duginske: “New Complete Guide to the Band Saw,” which we now carry in our store. Hurrah! I bought the first version of this book years ago and still use it today when tweaking my band saw.

– Also good: Lonnie Bird’s: “The Band Saw Book.”

– Our best-selling book involving band saws is Lois Ventura’s crazy (but cool) “Sculpted Band Saw Boxes.” So many woodworkers have made these boxes from this book that they have even ended up in the reader’s gallery of a competing magazine. That’s flattery!

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Showing 23 comments
  • Ron

    Finally got around to following your instructions for solving the video viewing problem.

    Same problem occurs when I try to view the Bandsaw Blade video.

    Have all the current flash versions installed after following your instructions.

    XP Professional SP3 and all updates.

    IE7 (IE 8 conflicts with XP) with all updates


  • James Watriss

    er, scratch that… top and bottom will curl towards you.

  • James Watriss


    Hold it in front of you, one side in each (gloved) fist. twist your fists inward.

    Top and bottom should curl forward and eventually double around.

  • Dan McGarigle

    Folding 1/4" blades is for little old ladies and guys who dance in shops.

    Please show us how a man folds a 3/4" blade for a 14" band saw.

    I look forward to new videos on folding a 3/4" blade.

  • Harry whitney

    It’s an interesting video, come see the woodworkingvideo on band saw blades….

  • Ron

    On "Look inside the shop" video contained in this Tips message has a similiar problem except that the little moving circle indicating the video is loading goes on forever and never loads the video.

    Go get them O’Great Seer !!!!!

  • Ron

    OK, lets try this again. After about 10 minutes I went to view the video again and it will not work. I have reset the storage on both the individual video and the Global settings and still NO GO ! I have done a power off reboot and also a refresh that worked the last time. Still NO GO!

    What is next O’Great Seer??!!??!!!

  • Ron

    Never mind! After a power off reboot I reloaded the site. It took about 3 minutes and the the video popped up and ran successfully. Go figure!

  • Ron

    NO GO on seeing the video even after installing the latest version of Flash Player, changing the settings, and even a restart and refresh.

    Next idea?

    Using Windows XP.

  • Joe LeFevre

    Sorry, but I could’nt see the blade. The camera was too far away.

  • James Watriss

    Actually… folding by hand taught me a lot about how to adjust the blade when it was on the saw.

    I hold it upright, and with my hands on either side, I twist the back (towards me) edges of the blade towards each other. And as a result, the bottom and top parts of the hoop curve forwards, towards each other. Hijinks ensue.

    The moral is that I learned the following about adjusting the blade on the saw. The old ideal that the blade must run perfectly centered on the tire is bollocks. If you run the blade so that the toothy edge creeps towards you, the vertical parts will point away from each other… or, the blade will cut more to the right, and will cut away from the fence, pushing the wood into the fence, and eventually deflecting the cut. If you run the blade towards the back of the tire, the front edge of the blade will angle itself to the left… towards the fence, and the cut will be such that the wood moves away from the fence. This is the situation where some folks will pull out featherboards and whatnot and try to keep the wood sliding parallel to the fence.

    It’s all about how the blade handles tension in different directions. I agree that there are certainly ideals about how a band saw should be set up and aligned. But then there’s the real world, and I’ve seen perfectly aligned saws where the wood creeps away from the fence. And then I’ve seen otherwise well aligned woodworkers try to wrestle with the angle of the fence to compensate.

    If you really want to dial in a straight cut, don’t adjust the fence. You’ll take all day, still have to settle, abandon all hope of any square and straight reference that you had, and still need to re-adjust when you swap blades. Adjust the blade angle via the upper wheel tilt… It’s much easier to work with.

  • Rob

    What fun! (Now picking up and putting down my old ripsaw seems so undramatic and uncomplicated.) I don’t have a band saw but I might just have to get a band saw blade so as to improve my dancing!

  • Joe Anderson

    Thursday, August 19, 2010 5:43:35 PM UTC
    I haven’t been able to view the last 2 videos you posted. What format are you using? I assume I’m missing a plug in, but I do not know which one.

    Ditto, wassup?

  • Drew DePenning

    If you’re just seeing a black box, here’s a few things you can do.

    First, install the latest version of the free Adobe Flash Player plugin from here:

    After installing/upgrading, I recommend restarting your computer.

    If you still see a black box, try right-clicking (control+click on a Mac) the box where the video should be and select "Settings". You should get a popup that says Adobe Flash Player Settings.

    Along the bottom of this window, click the icon that looks like a folder. This tab should say "Local Storage" and display a slider. Drag the slider to the right to increase the storage space to 1 MB or more. Then refresh the page.

    If this doesn’t work, please feel free to e-mail me.

  • Nick Webb

    All I can see is a black square. Where’s the vid?

  • Mark Steffens

    I’m with Sheppo on this. I cannot see the vid. Help.

  • BC Saw and Tool

    Just thought we’d throw our 2 cents in with a video response … especially for those discussing the blades of extended length – we’re definitely team foot-fold and here’s why:
    Also of note – after a great number of years at this job, his hands are very much like safety gloves anyway …

  • Rob Porcaro

    Hi guys,

    I don’t want to spoil the lighthearted video but this may be OK for a 6 or 7 foot blade but there is a safety issue here. (It even looks like Bob came close to scratching himself in the video.)

    A 12 foot long, 3/4" wide, 2-3 tpi blade can be ferocious. I use gloves and keep the blade in as much control as possible using feet/space/direction throughout folding and unfolding. I wouldn’t throw it, especially if Megan were around. I agree with Soren that safety glasses should at least be considered, at least when unfolding.

    OK, I’m done, go back to fun in the shop.


  • tms

    Hey Chris,

    My Pop taught me to do it using the edge of the bench.


  • Thanks I just snorted Salt & Vinegar chips and Diet Dr Pepper. When I can breath again I’ll watch your throw down again, sans Bobby Flay! My blades are only 154" and I wear gloves Mr Lang style. Beside I don’t want to use throw down style on my carbide bands.

  • Soren

    My main pair of glasses had parallel scratches from opening a bandsaw blade by hand – I had those lenses for several years after that – They constantly reminded me of shop safety and I bought safety glasses after that incident.

  • Mike Roberts

    I’d like to see this demonstration performed with a 196" long blade. I generally just toss the new ones out in the grass to unravel them.

  • Sheppo

    I haven’t been able to view the last 2 videos you posted. What format are you using? I assume I’m missing a plug in, but I do not know which one.

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